Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Race Report: Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon

Yes! I finished! I'm an Iron Girl! I even finished under my "ultimate" goal time. I am one of those "set multiple goal" types in order to avoid complete failure. Goal #1- Finish alive. Goal #2- Finish under 3 hours. Goal #3- Finish under 2:45. Ultimate Goal- Finish under 2:30. My total time was 2:27:07. Not bad for the first triathlon of a lazy runner. :)

Here are my complete stats:
  • Total time: 2:27:07
  • Swim time: 27:48 (.62 miles)
  • Transition #1: 4:41
  • Bike: 1:11:58 (17.5 miles)
  • Transition #2: 2:49
  • Run: 39:52 (3.4 miles)

The morning started off early. I think my alarm went off at 4:00 AM. I was at my friend's house by 4:45 to carpool over to Columbia. We arrived at about 5:30 AM. I started setting up my transition area (I had stuffed most of it into a bucket), got some air in my bike tires, and left the transition area by 6:45 when the first wave of Elite racers headed out for their swim wave (I think the first Elite was done with the swim in 9 minutes. Yikes!). We walked over to the swim start barefoot (lesson for next year: bring a pair of throw-away flip-flops!). My swim wave was next to last and did not start until 8:17 AM. At about 7:45, I realized I needed to visit the port-a-potty. Barefoot. Hence the throw-away flip flops for next year!

My swim wave went off at 8:17...to the strange noise of the AFLAC duck. A funny and endearing touch, but still odd. We treaded water in the lake for about 5 minutes before the start, so I recalled a lot of my old life-saving classes. I started at the back of the pack. During the swim, I got kicked and knocked around, so it took awhile to get into my swimming rhythm. I should have started at the front because I was a stronger swimmer than half of the swimmers in my age-group. One girl kept backstroking diagonally in front of me. I couldn't get away from her! Every time I would breaststroke to get away from her and get into a freestyle rhythm, she would come back across and run into me! I also thought the swim went further down the lake than it did...and suddenly I looked up and we were already at the finish chute! I had been conserving energy with my stroke, so I increased my turnover and hauled myself in.

The first transition was ok- I took some time to rinse my feet off, put on socks, throw on a gel-pack and grabbed my bike. I jogged in and out of the transition area...it was during those points that I actually felt like a triathlete! Once I got on the bike, my legs were pretty much ready to go. The swim really didn't tire me out at all. As soon as I got on the bike I passed about 5 people, especially on the downhills. My new bike made a big difference, I think. The course was VERY hilly, with some hills that seemed as if they would never end! My one complaint was the traffic on the road- since it wasn't closed to cars, there were a few spots near the park where I had to slow down to avoid hitting a car. My ride in Acadia Nat'l Park really made a difference. I think the ride would have demoralized me too much had I not already experienced some tough hills.

After I got off my bike and through the transition to the run, my legs felt ok. I ran for about 5 minutes until my lungs gave out. I took a hit of my inhaler during Transition #2, but it didn't kick in until halfway through the run (lesson for next year: hit inhaler with 15 min to go in the bike). I walked for 5 minutes to catch my breath. My pattern for the rest of the run was a modified run/walk...basically I walked up hills, sprinted down them, and jogged the flat areas. It worked...I averaged a decent pace for me- about 11:30 minute miles. I imagine I could have run faster if it was cooler and less hilly...oh, and if I hadn't just swam .62 miles and biked 17.5! I did have enough to push it the last half mile or so, especially when I realized that I was going to finish under 2:30!

I felt great at the finish line! They gave out medals, and I found my friends to rehash the race. We all had somewhat similar experiences, and all of us loved doing the triathlon. A few friends had a cookout later in the afternoon to celebrate. All in all, I would highly recommend this triathlon, and plan on doing it again next year! My ultimate goal for next year: 2:20...by shaving 2 minutes off the swim, 1 minute off each transition, 2 minutes off the bike, and 1-2 minutes off of the run. I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

4 Days and Counting

Well, I'm 4 days away from the triathlon. I'm definitely excited...a little nervous and apprehensive...and a little ready for it to be over! I've had so much fun training and I think I'll be doing another one next year, too.

Last night I went for a short ride/run. As much as I thought my legs would be the transition issue between cycling and running...I think it's going to be my asthmatic lungs! It took about 5 minutes to get my breath. I guess all the oxygen was going to my legs and I suddenly switched and asked it to go to my lungs instead.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Swimmin' in the Lake

I had another good open-water lake swim today...about 700-800 meters I think. It took me about 18 minutes...but I finally got used to not being able to see in the water. My swim was after water-skiing and tubing, so I was pretty proud that I wasn't exhausted!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vacation and Triathlon Training

So, I've managed to get some good training in on this vacation. A swim in the lake, a great uphill run, and a 20 mile super-hilly bike ride along the coast. Tomorrow, I'll be trying out my triathlon suit in the lake, and possibly riding a bit as well. Hopefully I'll also get another run in before we leave.

Today was my 20 mile bike ride in Acadia Nat'l Park on the Park Loop road. The views were stunning, but the uphills were really tough! I had a lot of fun going downhill, though. :) By the end, my legs were shot, but I knew I had gotten a good workout in.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Intense 2 weeks

Less than 3 weeks until the triathlon! Yikes... so I'm now in the last 2 weeks of really being able to train hard. I'm planning on the week before the race being a "taper" week with very little training.

On Sunday, I did a "test swim" in the pool by swimming the entire race distance (1100 yards/.62 miles). I managed to complete it in about 25 minutes..with only about 100 meters of breaststroke as a "breathing break". Taking into account other swimmers and the fact that it may be a bit choppy in the open water, I'm hoping to finish the swim part of the tri under 30 minutes.

I rode 15 miles on my new bike Monday night! I love it! I cut 10 minutes off my time from the week before on the same course. Who says that technology can't make you faster?? I'd like to finish the bike part of the tri in 1:15.

Today, I went for a run on the treadmill at work. I ran the entire race distance (3.4 miles). I averaged about 11 minute miles. I'll take that for the race, for sure. My goal is to finish the run in about 40 minutes.

Adding those together and including transitions, I think I'd like to complete the whole tri in 2:45 or under. We'll see...I think that's a conservative goal, but considering I've never done one of these, who knows what will happen?!?!